Definitely A Dawn

Rand Brittain: All Exalts, report in, then!

Elesha: Lightning Saint Elesha, freshly done with Contracts lecture!

Tamira: Cynis Tamira, absolutely not on the run from assassins, so stop saying that!

Kenara: Kenara, arriving in town with the clothes on her back!

The Cally: The Cally, waking up drunk on somebody's couch!

Rand Brittain: Wake up, Luka!

Rand Brittain: You'll miss all the perturbation!

Luka: Fugu.

Rand Brittain: Anyway, we'll begin our epic story with a game I like to call "How I Met Your Party Members".

Elesha: Elliott's been poisoned by deadly fugu!

Rand Brittain: Please feel free to imagine that you are relating this story to your eventual children on a couch two hundred years later.

Rand Brittain: Hopefully this will allow us to complete the "getting the gang together" phase in about ten minutes.

Rand Brittain: Elesha, you're up first.

Elesha: Elesha's professionally a wandering saleswoman, and only slays armies when necessary, so that seems like a likely way she met people.

Elesha: She's got a bad past with the Guild, and the Guild has dealings with House Cynis, so that might be an in with Tamara.

Rand Brittain: Ah, so, by what ridiculous circumstance did you wind up in Palanquin?

Elesha: In search of new markets!

Rand Brittain: Ah, and what do you hope to sell here?

Kenara: JUSTICE!

Rand Brittain: Is it really justice if it's for sale?

Elesha: Oh, she has all manner of goods and wares. Spider-quartz from the far East; worked gold jewelry; exotic Western dyes; various other things in a bag.

The Cally: Things.

Rand Brittain: What, you've never seen an "anything that comes in bags" stall?

Elesha: She doesn't have a stall. She has a stallion!

Rand Brittain: …ion.

Rand Brittain: Is what I meant to say.

Rand Brittain: Tamira, by what stallion-based shenanigan did you come to make Elesha's acquaintance?

Tamira: If there’s one thing you can trust, it’s that a Guild trader won’t sell you out unless paid to — so, if you stick to one of them like glue, you’ll see the payoff coming and have plenty of time to scram.

Elesha: Elesha should qualify: she's not a Guild trader.

Elesha: She's a merchant prince's runaway daughter.

Elesha: No formal membership!

Tamira: Meh meh, close enough, you’re all from the Threshold.

Rand Brittain: I hate your directionism! I hate it so much!

Tamira: Plus if she’s a merchant prince’s runaway daughter? Those assassins will think twice, lest they ruin trade in the Southeast for decades to come.

Tamira: So really this is win/win, by which both of those are wins for Tamira.

  • Elesha takes a Major Tie of "Protective Bemusement" towards Tamira.

Rand Brittain: Anyway, Kenara. By what unlikely twist of fate did you come into possession of literally Elesha's entire stock of wares?

Rand Brittain: (With any luck, we can escalate this until Palanquin winds up being destroyed before we're even out of medias res.)

Kenara: By catching the runaway stallion. Literally catching it.

Rand Brittain: Ah, and how did the Cally react when she staggered out of someone's door, to find a horse-juggling woman in the street?

  • Elesha decides Elesha's response to that would be Respect.

The Cally: She told Melissa to stop playing around with horses and come on, the Cynis warehouse is on fire and people are going to run out of marshmallows.

  • Tamira would like to point out for the record that she was nowhere near the warehouse and this is most definitely not her fault.

Rand Brittain: Luka, why is this most definitely your fault?

Rand Brittain: Also, props to Jenna for being the only person in the last two games to pick a name that doesn't end in A.

Rand Brittain: This will make naming your fusions much easier this time around.

Luka: Luka probably caused the runaway stallion; either horses are dangerously allergic to his cologne, or animals can very briefly perceive the Forgotten Blade when first drawn.

Rand Brittain: Okay, but how did you set the Cynis warehouse on fire?

Luka: They shouldn't have been smuggling slaves in my city. And also smuggling sheenrite, the world's most beautiful and flammable cloth.

Rand Brittain: I think it's meant to be worn by fire elementals. Only the Cynis would try to use it for meat dresses!

Rand Brittain: I mean, dresses for people made of meat.

Tamira: Dresses made of meat are not recommended in such a warm climate.

Rand Brittain: So, what's everybody's stance in re: putting the fire out?

Rand Brittain: Or, making it worse?

Rand Brittain: (or better)

Elesha: It's a Cynis warehouse, right?

Kenara: Kenara's first act was to break the chains holding the slaves, then to find water to take care of the fire before it spread.

The Cally: Putting it out would probably be a waste of marshmallows.

Elesha: So, the contents are almost definitely going to be drugs.

Rand Brittain: And, apparently, slaves!

Elesha: Elesha's going to set up digs to sell some snacks.

  • Rand considers the probable Palanquin attitude toward slavery.

The Cally: On the other hand, this is my warehouse, so I should probably do something. Hm.

Rand Brittain: Well, they were conquered by Ysyr, who are all about the slaves.

Rand Brittain: Oh, well, there's probably something shady about House Cynis' Dreaming Sea slavery operation, whatever it actually is.

Tamira: Tamira feels a certain responsibility to at least help, considering she’s a) a Cynis herself and b) fireproof — so she probably ends up saving things in order of value, which probably does mean people first. People are expensive.

The Cally: Fine, fine, after actually seeing the disaster up close my interest in mocking it with marshmallows will fade and I'll probably try to get random lollygagging people to help form a fire brigade by promising them a cut of what survives and the gratitude of House Cynis.

Luka: Luka is definitely getting slaves out—and probably already sabotaged a lot of chains.

Elesha: There's a nice chains-for-food bargain going on at Elesha's… current location.

Rand Brittain: What kind of food?

Rand Brittain: It's important to understand your PC's food preferences.

Elesha: Salted austrech!

Rand Brittain: So, with the power of teamwork, you wind up saving everybody from the fire and eating austrech.

Rand Brittain: Just in time for the building to collapse!

Kenara: Mmm, austrech.

The Cally: "You," the Cally eventually says, waving an austrech stick at Kenara. "You're not actually Melissa, but I'm having trouble remembering your name. E-something, right?"

Luka: Would it be reasonable to assume Elesha and Luka conspired on this?

Elesha: "Sheenrite prices are going to be rising nearabouts, I think."

Elesha: "Nicely done, Luka."

  • Elesha fills in her Tie for Luka with "Cahoots."

Rand Brittain: cahoooooooots

Kenara: "Kenara." She wipes her brow and eagerly bites into the austrech, the first good meal she's had since coming to this town. "You are…" she thinks. "Cally, yes?"

The Cally: The Cally waves a hand airily. "The Cally, technically," she says. "But honestly, 'the' is a terrible first name."

Elesha: "Is it short for anything?"

Luka: "Theodore?"

Kenara: "In the meantime, I believe that this is someone's horse?"

Rand Brittain: …have you had the horse in your other hand all this time?

Kenara: The reins.

Rand Brittain: That's a mark of supreme martial arts master… oh.

Elesha: "Uratan!"

Luka: Hidden Horse practitioner!

Elesha: "I told you not to go running off like that. Disreputable horse!"

The Cally: The Cally squints at Luka, then sighs a long and put-upon sigh. "The Inevitable Cataclysm Awaiting All Life, if you must know. But the Cally is acceptable."

Kenara: Kenara pets the horse's nose. "Go to your master, skittish one. And you should be more careful! Your horse nearly trampled people."

Luka: "So, is it impolite to ask what this Inevitable Cataclysm is? Or at least, which one?"

Tamira: “I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least a few of those.”

Kenara: It should be noted that Kenara is awfully dainty-looking for the displays of strength she's put on.

Elesha: "My apologies. He's still not used to the elevation."

Kenara: "That makes two of us."

The Cally: "Oh," says the Cally, revising her opinion of Luka. "Bless your heart, dear, it's me. That's how names work."

The Cally: She waves a hand vaguely. "It's apparently a common name out there somewhere."

Rand Brittain: It's time to set up one of those little rows of light bulbs like in the first episode of Ouran, as Tamira gradually realizes that her entire social circle is Anathema.

Tamira: I love that running gag.

Kenara: It was a great moment.

Elesha: An orichalcum powerbow slips out of Elesha's saddlebags.

Rand Brittain: Anyway, as you are all experiencing this human disease called friendship…

Rand Brittain: …the warehouse roof caves in.

Luka: Does Luka have a sword? Definitely probably not.

Rand Brittain: There's crumbling, as most of the remaining guards and employees either flee or take the day off, depending on who you ask.

Rand Brittain: And there's an opposite sort of motion as the people of Palanquin decide that now is a great time for some casual looting.

Kenara: Looting doesn't concern me. People were in danger, I helped save the people, I'm good.

Luka: Luka seems a little concerned over whether or not anyone was injured in the fire he started. It's just good manners.

The Cally: The Cally frowns irritably. "Looters!" she snaps, over her shoulder. "Please, form an organized line and do this properly."

Rand Brittain: To the surprise of… well, not me, but probably of somebody… some of them actually do.

Tamira: “Well, that’s life for you, isn’t it? One minute you’re solid as a rock, and the next you’re on fire and caving in on yourself.”

Elesha: "Commemorative warehouse fire snacks! Get your commemorative warehouse fire snacks!"

The Cally: "Hang on a moment," the Cally says to the group, and goes over to help organize this a little better, because honestly, standards.

Kenara: How apparent is Tamira's dragon blood?

Tamira: Pretty dang apparent, I imagine, considering she’s still coming down from having used her anima to stroll casually through a burning buidling.

Kenara: Right.

Luka: Luka seamlessly switches over to Elesha's assistant, preparing snacks.

Rand Brittain: Well, now that Tamira's here, she can start insisting on building things to code.

Tamira: I imagine the roots of her hair are glowing rather like embers, and every so often little puffs of smoke come out of her nose

Kenara: Nice.

Rand Brittain: Anyway, you spend some time organizing the looters, reflecting on the transience of all things, and selling commemorative snacks, respectively.

Rand Brittain: When you are distracted, by the sounds of perturbation nearby!

Tamira: Egads, not perturbation!

Kenara: Oh no, not perturbation! Kenara wolfs down the rest of her meat-on-a-stick and goes to check it out.

The Cally: I Went to the Cynis Warehouse Fire and All I Got Was This T-Shirt and Really High.

Rand Brittain: You find, in a nearby street, one, or possibly two, crowds of people, arguing over something lying on the street between them.

Rand Brittain: The "something" appears to be a yellow box carved out of some sort of stone, about the size of a small trunk.

Elesha: `Frugal Merchant Method.` What kind of quality is it in?

Rand Brittain: It's really damn fancy, although it looks like it's been sitting in a hole for ??? years, and is covered in dust.

Rand Brittain: It doesn't look magical, but it does look like a box made of yellow jade if you're any judge.

Rand Brittain: Which you are.

The Cally: The Inevitable Cataclysm Awaiting All Life leaves the warehouse and the little people behind to stick close to the protagonists and the plot.

Rand Brittain: The people, meanwhile, appear to be members of some of the local martial arts societies, if you're any judge of suspiciously-toned forearms, which you also are.

Elesha: Elesha hops up onto Uratan, and starts skedaddling for the relic.

Elesha: "Stand aside! You're all in great danger!"

Rand Brittain: Also they have insignias on their martial arts gis that say so.

Rand Brittain: So there's that.

Rand Brittain: They do not do this.

Tamira: “Oooh, great danger? This ought to be entertaining,” Tamira says, following at a leisurely pace.

Kenara: "What is this foolishness? Why do you men squabble in the street like children?"

Rand Brittain: There are >20 martial arts persons milling around the scene, making it hard to ride horses directly to it.

Rand Brittain: Right in the middle of the crowd you spot two people who have much better haircuts than the rest and are probably named NPCs.

Elesha: What's the things-to-jump-around-and-balance-on situation like?

Rand Brittain: Very promising.

Luka: Luka takes the opportunity to investigate the box's design without approaching too close.

Rand Brittain: This is martial arts town.

Elesha: `Flashing Thunderbolt Steed` + `Graceful Crane Stance` + `Monkey Leap Technique`

Elesha: In a single bound, Elesha and Uratan are galloping along laundry lines and whatnot.

Rand Brittain: It matches the kind of design that was popular in Palanquin's noble history, before Ysyr marched in and became their hands-off but very pushy landlords.

Luka: `Easily Overlooked Presence Method, btw`

Rand Brittain: Anyway, the two people who seem to be in charge of approximately half the mob each are:

The Cally: The Cally sidles up to a martial artist and whispers, "Who are those other guys?"

Rand Brittain: The martial artist whispers back "It's those rutting idiots from the Great Animal Society."

Rand Brittain: Another martial artist, who thought you were talking to her, whispers "It's those smug assholes from the Harmonious Doctrine League."

The Cally: "Why in!—how did they get involved in this?"

Rand Brittain: "They think they can do what they like," say both of them simultaneously, before glaring at each other awkwardly.

Rand Brittain: Wuxia Boss #1, anyway, is a tall young man of medium but athletic build in a saffron jacket and carefully feathered brown hair with little ribbons in it. His posture says "I came here to take this box, but my greatest pleasure in life is annoying you, Wuxia Boss #2."

Rand Brittain: Wuxia Boss #2 is an even taller woman of almost aggressive elegance. She has long white hair, an even longer white robe, and a naginata that is very elongated indeed. She is currently using powerful martial arts secrets to avoid being driven into a screaming rage by her counterpart's powerful aggravation technique.

Rand Brittain: Both of them have one foot on the yellow box.

The Cally: The Cally frowns a bit. "That's so unreasonable," she agrees with each of them individually. "They're not even interested in a fair and impartial arbitrator!"

Rand Brittain: Meanwhile there's a horse up on a laundry line.

Luka: (Okay, I can't focus. Half my family came here to do a late Christmas. Be back, I hope.)

Tamira: Tamira is still staring up at said horse, checking her pulse to make sure she didn’t inhale something she should have waited until tonight to inhale during the fire.

Rand Brittain: "Who needs an arbitrator when your kung fu is as powerful as ours?" asks the Great Animal initiate, as she flexes a bit.

Rand Brittain: "Who needs an arbitrator when the other party only speaks in animal screeches?" says the Harmonious Doctrine minion.

The Cally: "Exactly!" the Cally says. "I mean, I hear you, you're totally right, a real master of kung fu doesn't need any of that, but for them, it's more like, their heads are totally up their Cynis-holes, am I right?"

The Cally: `Mastery of Small Manners`

Rand Brittain: Mastery of Small Manners indicates that nobody from Harmonious Doctrine would ever say that.

Rand Brittain: They are the kind of martial arts society where you stick out your little finger while drinking tea.

The Cally: Hmm, fair enough, let me edit.

Rand Brittain: Just say it again!

Rand Brittain: Think of my logs!

Kenara: (And now we get to see how the Zenith and the Eclipse do things.)

The Cally: "Exactly!" the Cally says. "I mean, I hear you, you're totally right, a real master of kung fu doesn't need any of that, but for them, it's more like, their weak kung fu's fogging up their brain with bad yin!"

Kenara: ‘Respect-Commanding Attitude` "Enough! You are clearly not learned masters, for none of any learning would squabble in the street like drunken farmers arguing about a cow!" Kenara’s tone is the sort of hectoring tongue-lashing that any good headman needs to have to end arguments, although she doubts that it will work here. "Think of your responsibility to the people! Think on your dignity and manners, and have your bickering somewhere private! Have you no shame?"

  • Kenara Zeniths in like a rampaging social bull.

The Cally: The Cally's eyes light up with interest as she turns to look at Melissa. Oh-ho.

Rand Brittain: "No," says the Great Animal leader. "Not particularly." He leans innocently on his walking stick.

Kenara: Kenara snorts.

Rand Brittain: If anything he seems as happy to have a public argument as a fight.

Kenara: (Also, how does one roll dice here?)

Rand Brittain: "Nothing would please me better than to settle this like women of humane and dignified character," agrees the Harmonious Doctrine leader. "But I can't see them going along with it."

Rand Brittain: I usually use <http://www.miketilly.com/exalted/diceroller.html> and just announce the result.

Rand Brittain: If a fight should happen, I'll instantiate a Google Doc to keep track of the details.

Kenara: Right, okay. Would it be okay if I rolled some dice for my little oratory there?

Rand Brittain: Meanwhile, for narrative convenience, the two martial arts mavens introduce themselves offscreen as Dune Breaker Hau and Sadida ja Wunlo, respectively.

Rand Brittain: Sure, sure.

Rand Brittain: At any rate, you have their full attention either way.

Kenara: All righty. I got 3 successes on it. I'll keep my rolling to when asked from here on in.

Kenara: "And what is this thing that you're arguing over?"

The Cally: "It's like watching a rhinoceros doing the tea ceremony," the Cally marvels, after the kung fu leaders speak, as if to suggest "man, those Harmonious Doctrine guys are completely out of touch with the true spirit of their kung fu" and "dang, those Great Animal guys are ridiculous."

The Cally: (depending on the audience)

Rand Brittain: "It's a box," says Hau. "We found it, so it's ours. It was in a hole in the ground. You know. Somewhere else."

Rand Brittain: (Members of both sects nod approvingly at the Cally's speech.)

Rand Brittain: "And you didn't loot it from a burning building?" asks Sadida archly.

Rand Brittain: "Nah," says Hau, wiping some soot off his face.

Rand Brittain: "I suspect," says Sadida, "based on the swallow embossed on the top, that this box once belonged to our founder, Master Uen, and is thus rightfully the property of our league."

Kenara: Siiigh. "And you're going to fight over it. I should take you over my knee and spank you like the children you behave as."

Tamira: Tamira glances from Kenara to the crowd of martial artists. Kenara. Martial artists. Kenara. Martial artists.

Rand Brittain: "Hey, I spent ten years learning the secrets of the Monkey," says Hau. "If I wind up never primate punching anybody, it was all wasted, na?"

Tamira: She leans in and whispers to Kenara, “Are you really going to fight a bunch of trained martial artists? Just curious, you understand.”

Kenara: "Of course not. But their behavior rankles me."

Tamira: “Mmmm. Same. Honestly, I’m tempted to solve this the Dynastic way.”

Kenara: What's around that'd make for a handy display of absurd strength? I feel the need to put the fear of God into these losers.

Rand Brittain: Well, there's a horse up on a laundry line.

Rand Brittain: You could snip the line, catch the horse, and toss it.

Kenara: Yeah but somebody's using that.

Rand Brittain: Or, I dunno. There's got to be some kind of trick involving a perfectly-balanced horse.

Rand Brittain: Either way, feel free to invent something.

Rand Brittain: This is Butt Town; we play things fast and loose here.

Kenara: A handy cart, a nice big one meant to be pulled by a horse. Kenara takes it and, with a grunt, hoists it in both hands over her head. "Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. You are causing a disruption. I would like you to take this disruption elsewhere." She shifts to a throwing stance. "Am I understood?"

Rand Brittain: Hau reacts with entirely inappropriate glee. "Oh, I hear you loud and clear."

The Cally: The Cally says, thoughtfully, "Dang, she looks like she could totally take their sect's master down in like one punch."

Rand Brittain: "Great Animal Society, defend the box! Pummel all interlopers!"

Rand Brittain: Sadida, with a look of utter disgust, performs the backwards leap of I'll-be-back-later-to-jack-the-box-off-the-winner.

Rand Brittain: You find yourself in the middle of a Martial Arts Fisticuff!

Rand Brittain: Please commence to roll Join Battle while I fill out the celestial paperwork.

Elesha: 8m for +8 dice, 8 successes, base Initiative 11.

Tamira: “How in the the—?!” Tiny woman hoisting huge cart. Important. Problematic. Not so problematic as martial arts hoodlums charging in her general direction!

The Cally: 4 dice for 2 successes, base initiative 5.

Kenara: 2 successes, base initiative 5.

Tamira: 4m Precision Observation Method for 12 dice… 8 successes.

Luka: Five successes, BI 8

Tamira: … okay, it’s been a while, how does Base Initiative work again?

Rand Brittain: It's your JB successes plus three.

Tamira: Oh! 11 then.

Kenara: Also I should say that this is my first time doing combat in 3e, so keep that in mind.

Rand Brittain: This encounter is aimed at being challenging but not overwhelming.

Rand Brittain: Mind you, the last time I said that, three of the Realm's finest scions were eaten by birds.

Tamira: Tamira is a lot more combat ready than Rasuna ever was.

Luka: Luka will probably explode if tickled.

Tamira: Good thing he’s clearly not a combatant. Doesn’t even have a sword!

  • Rand begins rolling Join Battle for your opponents and copying them into the battle scroll.

Rand Brittain: Please go ahead and put your current mote totals and such on the appropriate entry.

Tamira: I was 11 as well, FYI; forgot to add 3.

Rand Brittain: You find yourselves in a broad but well-apportioned alleyway, about to do battle with Dune Breaker Hau, two burly martial artists, and two flippy martial artists.

Rand Brittain: Hau keeps one foot on the box, at short range from you, while his four subordinates are all up ins at close range.

Tamira: (Soak is half Stamina, right?)

Elesha: (All of Stamina.)

Rand Brittain: Except for Elesha, who is up on a horse, on a string.

Elesha: Elesha's going to make a lot of rolls, so Tamira should probably do her stuff first.

Tamira: (Three Editions As One Curse!)

Rand Brittain: Hau waves up at Elesha, as if to say "I probably should have commented on your sweet horse kung fu earlier, but, I was busy. Let's do tea later?"

Tamira: Tamira’s going to set up Flame Warden Stance benefitting Kenara. Simple, 3m, 2i, so she’s at 9 initiative now.

Rand Brittain: Is that a reflexive Defend Other thing?

Tamira: It’s a scenelong Defend Other, yeah

Elesha: The marry-parry!

Rand Brittain: Wow, so forward!

Rand Brittain: A proposal this soon in the campaign?

Rand Brittain: I'm excited!

Elesha: Elesha demures. "It's not my kung fu, you see. It's my horse's!"

Rand Brittain: Hau declines to seduce your horse.

Elesha: She pulls a handful of blunted arrows currently serving as hairpins, letting the pinned-away portions roll down, and then looses quarrel after flashing quarrel.

Tamira: “Just stick close to me,” Tamira says to Kenara. “It’s not the first time some maniac in an alley’s come for me.”

Elesha: `Revolving Bow Discipline` to attack Hau until I miss or crash him, with `Wise Arrow` on each attack to drop his Defense by 1.

Rand Brittain: Does that get you out of the need to Aim? /looks

Elesha: I thought I was at short?

Tamira: You only need to Aim at Medium or higher.

Rand Brittain: Hm, I was thinking you were farther away, but I guess people don't hang their laundry at Medium range from the ground.

Tamira: (That much, at least, I remember from Zanara.)

Rand Brittain: Except in Wu-Jian.

Elesha: First attack, 11 successes!

Rand Brittain: …well, technically, all of Palanquin is at much higher than Medium range from the ground.

Rand Brittain: Well, he's got Evasion 5, so that's threshold six.

Elesha: Raw damage 19.

Rand Brittain: So, that's 15 dice of damage.

Elesha: 6 damage.

Tamira: (… ah crud, Precision Observation keeps me from going into Aura. Oh, well.)

Elesha: (It's Balanced.)

Tamira: (Oh! NVM!)

Rand Brittain: Okay, yeah, I'll let you roll your own damage.

Elesha: Second attack: 9 successes.

Rand Brittain: It is beginning to look like this time I understatted the opponents.

Elesha: His Evasion's down to 4 from onslaught.

Tamira: Solars are not Dragon-Blooded.

Elesha: His soak's 7?

Rand Brittain: …yes.

Rand Brittain: Yes, it is.

Elesha: 6 damage.

Elesha: …and that crashes him, I think, so Elesha's done!

Rand Brittain: That crashes him.

Rand Brittain: Although in some ways that only makes him more annoying.

Rand Brittain: He falls backwards into the struggling monkey stance made popular by Jackie Chan.

Rand Brittain: This boosts his Evasion to 6.

Elesha: "Shocking!"

Elesha: (But he's also got -2 onslaught.)

Rand Brittain: The next turn belongs to Monkey Warrior #1!

Rand Brittain: ….30 Initiative, really?

Rand Brittain: That Charm is insane.

Elesha: Dawn Caste, yo.

Rand Brittain: That's it; I'm summoning more bears.

Tamira: Haha, this is what Zanara did to Jaspindar.

Rand Brittain: Monkey Warrior #1 decides that there's a clear priority target on the field, and uses a flying monkey leap to begin pummeling him some horse warrior.

Kenara: I was gonna say, you're comparing mortal martial artists to a Dawn Caste. Wait to see how different it is for the rest of us.

Rand Brittain: He lands neatly on the horse's head and kicks Elesha in the face, managing to roll eight successes.

Elesha: Hit by two!

Rand Brittain: Fourteen damage, minus six soak…

Rand Brittain: Wow, really? He rolls four tens and withers you for 9.

Kenara: Dang. Somebody's angling for employee of the month.

Elesha: "A formidable opponent!" Elesha beams.

Rand Brittain: Note that the onslaught penalty from his monkey punches won't wear off normally.

  • Rand rearranges the list according to Initiative order.

Rand Brittain: Looks like Monkey Warrior #2 is next.

Rand Brittain: And as you know, what Monkey see, Monkey do.

Rand Brittain: He decides it's a great day to land on the other end of the horse and kick Elesha in the back of the face.

Elesha: Elesha stunts a defense!

Rand Brittain: That is not a stunt.

Luka: I feel like my best tactic is probably going to be to start knitting the Victorious Elesha commemorative t-shirts.

Elesha: She shakes loose numerous inkbrushes stashed away in her hair, creating a distraction for her to dodge!

Rand Brittain: Make a lasso and use it to snatch the yellow box!

Rand Brittain: That is a… how do two-point stunts work with static values? A +1 increase?

Elesha: +2.

Rand Brittain: The monkey hits with a threshold of zero.

Rand Brittain: You are withered for three.

Rand Brittain: You're also down to an onslaught penalty of -2.

Rand Brittain: Tamira, you went, so Luka's up.

Luka: Luka slides forward gracefully towards Elesha, giving her a wink that seems to say: "You're buying the wine tonight." His blade seems almost aggressively mundane, but where it cuts through the air, it makes a song like cold bells ringing.

Rand Brittain: You can't pull out the Forgotten Blade and expect people to remember a promise like that later!

Luka: The music is haunting, and then he strikes at Elesha's attacker.

Rand Brittain: Can you do that from on the ground?

Luka: Wait, where is he?

Rand Brittain: Elesha is on a horse, which is on a clothesline, and the attackers are standing on opposite sides of the horse.

Rand Brittain: So, they're at least eight feet off the ground.

Luka: Blorg.

Luka: Sorry, was distracted from that by a screaming nephew. Pretend instead that he's attacking someone on the ground. Probably one of the gymbunnies.

Rand Brittain: Rabbit Style is a different brotherhood!

Rand Brittain: Possibly the Lesser Animal School.

Luka: You know what I mean, Randal!

Rand Brittain: Although if you'd decided to piss off Sadida instead, you'd be fighting two Mouse Stylists.

Luka: The burly ones.

Rand Brittain: Okay, you can attack Bear Warrior #1. We can call him Ru, since you're so eager to get acquainted.

Luka: Luka stab!

Rand Brittain: Go ahead and make your stab roll.

Rand Brittain: Unless you are stabbing me in which case your result is zero.

Luka: 15 successes.

Rand Brittain: Are you using your Excellency?

Rand Brittain: I see you spending motes.

Luka: Yes.

Luka: Excellency + Excellent Strike.

Luka: Plus a lot of 10's.

Rand Brittain: Well, that's a threshold of ten. He's got Soak 7.

Luka: It's (threshold successes + Damage - soak) for withering?

Rand Brittain: Yeah.

Luka: 9 withering.

Luka: Which crashes him, I think?

Rand Brittain: Looks like… oh, wait.

Rand Brittain: Both the bears should actually be five higher, since they get a bonus when Hau got crashed.

Rand Brittain: So that leaves him at 3.

Rand Brittain: Okay, Bear Warrior the second, Tien, is up.

Rand Brittain: He's going to have a go at Luka, who is attempting to stab his boyfriend. He makes a lunge, being careful to display his shoulder development as his torso passes in front of your eyes.

Rand Brittain: He rolls ten successes.

Rand Brittain: Apparently Luka's Parry is zero, since his character sheet isn't on the wiki!

Luka: Luka sidesteps the lunge as best he can. "Not really a bear man, myself."

Luka: If only Parry was also on the initiative document!

Rand Brittain: "The bear is metaphorical! I wax regularly!"

Rand Brittain: All right, he hits by four.

Luka: Nope. Excellency.

Rand Brittain: Fine, what are you spending?

Luka: Dipping Swallow Defense and Excellency: No penalties, +3 Defense, anima is dim.

Rand Brittain: Okay, so he hits by one, then.

Luka: Wait, does attacker win on a tie now?

Elesha: Yup.

Rand Brittain: You are withered by six.

Rand Brittain: Kenara, you're up.

Kenara: So you remember that cart? I'm throwing the cart.

Rand Brittain: Where?

Kenara: At some guys. I'm thinking the bears.

Rand Brittain: Okay, so an improvised attack.

Kenara: How does this work?

Luka: Confusingly.

Rand Brittain: Okay, so.

Rand Brittain: An improvised weapon costs 1 Initative to use.

Rand Brittain: What magic are you currently using to enable cart-hefting?

Kenara: Oh right, that'll take the big magic.

Rand Brittain: I'm going to call it an improvised Heavy Thrown weapon, so +11 damage.

Kenara: Let's say I used Nine Aeons Thew.

Rand Brittain: And you'll have to use your Thrown score on the roll.

Rand Brittain: …maybe you should just try to hit him with the cart?

Kenara: Sure, let's do that.

Rand Brittain: Okay, so which bear do you want, Ru or Tien?

Kenara: Tien.

Rand Brittain: Okay, roll your attack.

Kenara: Actually, scratch that. Can I reach their boss or are people in my way?

Rand Brittain: You could use your move action to get to him, yeah.

Rand Brittain: He's only at short range.

Rand Brittain: I guess they could blockade your path but we won't worry about that for your first fight.

Kenara: Okay, let's do this like Buddhists.

Kenara: (Moderately, without attachment.)

Rand Brittain: "If you meet the handsome monkey in the road, kill him."

Rand Brittain: Well, you can roll either way!

Kenara: Spending five essence on my excellency: 9 successes.

Tamira: (As I’ve not Moved, I’m assuming I can stick with Kenara to keep her in Close range so my Charm keeps running?)

Rand Brittain: Yeah, you can use your move for that.

Rand Brittain: You can move reflexively, which is why you have to rush to catch someone if they use their move to move away from you.

Kenara: "Thank you for your concern, Tamira, but protect yourself as well."

Rand Brittain: Okay, you hit Hau by three.

Kenara: Five damage.

Kenara: I get 1 initiative for hitting with a withering attack, yes? And then five more for the damage?

Rand Brittain: Right.

Kenara: So that should put me at 10.

Rand Brittain: "Ow," says Hau.

Rand Brittain: The Cally, you're up.

Tamira: “I assure you, my dear, I am always looking out for number one.”

The Cally: "Legendary Seven-Point Elephant Snake Cart-Driving Kung Fu Destruction Technique!" gasps the Cally in sheer shock just as the bear warriors, in their general survey of the battlefield, glance her direction. "He has to get to the doctor!"

Rand Brittain: "Or what?" asks Ru.

The Cally: "He'll lose his monkey punch!"

The Cally: (4m, 7 successes.)

Rand Brittain: That's enough to spook them even with Hau's leadership power boosting their Resolve!

Rand Brittain: "We can't allow that to happen! Or, wait, was that a euphemism? Well, it's still bad!"

Rand Brittain: "…I'm fine, guys," murmurs Hau, extricating himself from the cart.

The Cally: "It's already regressing the energy to his brain!" `Effective Counterargument`

Rand Brittain: They engage in spirited conversation on this topic. It involves a lot of calling each other "bro" and back-slapping.

The Cally: (Actually, that probably doesn't apply unless he actually rolls to persuade them, so whatever.)

Rand Brittain: Are you trying to convince Hau not to see a doctor?

Rand Brittain: Oh, I see.

The Cally: Nah, I was trying to make sure they didn't listen to "I'm fine."

The Cally: Anyway, that's my action.

Rand Brittain: Hm, does Hau have to beat the Resolve of his own dudes that he's boosting?

  • Rand considers.

Rand Brittain: Ah, well, it's a good tactic so it deserves to work.

Rand Brittain: Ru is unwilling to believe Hau's protestations of fineness and attempts to carry him off. There is some very manly wrestling.

Rand Brittain: Eventually Hau is forced to incapacitate his subordinate with the Gibbon Grip.

Rand Brittain: Bear Warrior Ru drops out of the battle.

Kenara: Oh good, he didn't leave the fight.

Rand Brittain: Everybody is completely distracted and watches, spellbound, until this exchange is complete.

Rand Brittain: Hau claims an Initiative Break bonus for this shenanigan, and grants it to his allies via his celestial monkey magic.

Rand Brittain: Okay, Hau's turn.

Rand Brittain: He'd rather like to hit Kenara with a cart of his own, but she's got a bodyguard, and also there isn't a cart, and also he doesn't have any swole magic (sad though this makes him).

Rand Brittain: So he's going to punch Tamira instead.

Rand Brittain: He rolls six successes, hitting with a threshold of zero.

Tamira: Thought ties went to defense? Ugh, Three Editions Curse.

Rand Brittain: That's three damage, which is enough to bring him out of Crash.

Tamira: Anyway, I can spend motes to buff my Parry.

Tamira: Which I will do.

Kenara: Wait, how's that enough? Didn't I drive him down another 5?

Rand Brittain: He claimed an Initiative Break bonus for incapacitating his own guy.

Tamira: (Blinding Spark Distraction, 2m, +1 Parry)

Rand Brittain: Which is cheating, but, well, it's Palanquin.

Rand Brittain: We play things fast and loose here.

Rand Brittain: Fine, fine; just be sure to declare quickly if you're spending motes on defense so I don't have to wait to roll.

Tamira: Yeah, sorry, was momentarily confused about options.

Rand Brittain: You can have your Initiative back.

Rand Brittain: Anyway, that ends the turn.

Rand Brittain: Everybody can grab back five motes.

Rand Brittain: Kaba is first to attack this go-round, and will be rewarding Elesha with another kick in the face.

Elesha: "Nope!"

Elesha: +3 Dodge.

Rand Brittain: It's basically one of those clocks where the little people go round and round, but with face-kicking.

Elesha: Elesha twists the reins to wheel about underneath her horse.

Rand Brittain: Okay, but you're at -2 Dodge already owing to onslaught penalty.

Rand Brittain: So, you're spending motes on this?

Elesha: Dodge Excellency.

Rand Brittain: Or are you just informing me that this is a three-point stunt via fiat? :)

Elesha: It's disreputable to use your custom Developer Charms in the first fight!

Rand Brittain: I'll grant you a one-point stunt for a total of +2 Dodge.

Rand Brittain: The monkeys continue to roll well, and Kaba takes a total of nine successes thanks to two tens.

Rand Brittain: That's a threshold of three.

Rand Brittain: And he rolls… one damage.

Rand Brittain: Well, you can't have everything.

Elesha: *nooooooooo*

Rand Brittain: Still, that brings your Onslaught to -3.

Rand Brittain: Your move.

Elesha: "Your Monkey style is impressive. I can't hold back if I'm going to keep up with you!"

Elesha: `Arrow Storm Technique`

  • Rand realizes that Monkey Warrior #2 also has Initiative 17, and they could… oh, wait, that means you may wind up clashing.

Elesha: …going to attack Kaba, Tien, Rishe, and Hau.

Rand Brittain: How do multi-attacks work with clashes?

Elesha: If he wins, he defends himself against it and hits me. If he loses, I hit him.

Rand Brittain: Okay, so, normally.

Elesha: +3 dice from Excellency, and Wise Arrow to drop everyone's Defense by 1

Rand Brittain: If he wins, do you still hit everybody else?

Elesha: Yes.

Elesha: 9 successes.

Rand Brittain: Rishe makes a valiant attempt, while Elesha is rolling under her horse and rising up on the other side with a absolutely ridiculous arrow barrage, to deliver a vicious saru-suplex sending her right back around.

Rand Brittain: (Are you factoring in the -3 penalty?)

Elesha: -3 from what?

Rand Brittain: Onslaught. Doesn't that apply to everything?

Elesha: Just defense.

Rand Brittain: Oh, okay.

  • Rand rolls for the clashing monkey.

Rand Brittain: …Rishe only rolls 8.

  • Elesha smiles.

Rand Brittain: It's a bad day for monkeys!

Elesha: Hit all four?

Rand Brittain: Nine is going to hit everybody, yeah.

Elesha: Perception is 4, 17 Initiative divided four ways, rounded up is 5, base damage 9 against everyone.

Rand Brittain: Although crashing everybody at once is potentially going to do something insane with their special… oh, wait, that was decisive?

Elesha: Yeah.

Elesha: 3 levels of damage to Kaba.

Elesha: 6 levels to Tien.

Elesha: 5 to Rishe.

Elesha: 2 to Hau.

Rand Brittain: Good lord.

Kenara: Maker's teeth.

Elesha: "Do you think your kung fu can match my horse's Lightning Saint style?"

Rand Brittain: Tien is Incapacitated.

Rand Brittain: And, uh, about to die.

Rand Brittain: Your arrow has caught him squarely in the throat.

Elesha: It was blunt!

Rand Brittain: Tien is Incapacitated.

Luka: To the throat.

Rand Brittain: And his singing career is severely endangered.

Luka: Unless he makes a wish on the Dragon Balls

Rand Brittain: The Great Animal Warriors take a moment to reassess the tactical situation.

Rand Brittain: "I think perhaps this is as much fun as we can have in one afternoon without risking permanent facial scars," admits Hau.

Rand Brittain: "I confess, your horse has the stronger kung fu."

Rand Brittain: "I surrender the box to you. But please don't give it to those Crane jerks."

Luka: Luka is on the box in one swift movement, like a dying man reaching for water in the desert.

Elesha: "This box," Elesha says, dropping down from the line, "is the sole property of Lightning Saint Elesha."

Elesha: "…and company."

Tamira: “What’s wrong with facial scars?” Tamira mutters, sheathing her blade. “Still, that could have gone worse.”

Rand Brittain: "Wow, that's an awesome kung fu name."

Rand Brittain: "But may I please know the name of the horse that has defeated me?"

  • Luka winks at Elesha, complete with a Sidon sparkle.

Rand Brittain: "Or wait, is that who Elesha is?"

Elesha: "Behold! URATAN, THE DIVINITY-BEARING HORSE!"

Rand Brittain: Hau performs a kowtow that is everything Sadida could wish, were she still here, which, honestly, she probably still is.

Luka: "A literal high horse," Luka adds, barely daring a whisper.

Rand Brittain: Then he and his monkeys begin dragging their fallen bears away.

Kenara: So much for following through on my threat to spank him. Ah, well.

Kenara: "Now what is it that we have won? That is, aside from the box itself."

Rand Brittain: "Darned if I know," says Hau, leaving. "I can't figure out how to open it."

Luka: Luka runs his hands carefully along the box. "C'mon, buddy. Give up the secrets in your bowels."

Elesha: "It's a very nice box."

Kenara: Is there a lock on it?

Rand Brittain: It's an extremely nice box. It also has no apparent lock, keyhole, or other logical means of ingress.

Luka: Hmmm. What's a Twilight got to roll to investigate this mischief?

Kenara: "Hmm. I don't think I'd be able to tear that open: I've never tried prying jade before."

Rand Brittain: You can confirm your impression that it's made of yellow jade, which means that it's fantastically expensive even if it doesn't actually seem to be an Artifact Box with container Evocations.

Rand Brittain: I'm guessing Craft.

Elesha: It's so rare it's not even canonical!

Rand Brittain: RAD SPOILERS ABOUT GETIMIANS WHICH I AM REDACTING

Tamira: “Hmmm. A box that doesn’t open. Clever.” Tamira pulls a pipe out of her cloak, packs it, lights it with her finger as she sits on top of the box.

The Cally: The Cally sighs, and leans against a wall. "Might open from the inside, I guess."

Rand Brittain: That's going to make things super-awkward when the actual Getimians start showing up.

Rand Brittain: If they haven't already.

Kenara: Ugh, don't remind me.

Luka: (Intelligence + Craft) to investigate the design?

Rand Brittain: Sure.

Luka: Four successes, despite a half-strength Excellency

Kenara: Kenara looks up at Tamira. "Thank you for your help. I know this is going to sound silly but I'm really not accustomed to violence."

Rand Brittain: Based on your knowledge of this kind of thing, the fact that it's obviously incredibly fancy and expensive, and the intricate filligree designs…

Rand Brittain: …it looks like this is one of those high-brow storage solutions that only opens in response to a specific stimulus.

Rand Brittain: Like, a song, or the moon on Durin's Day, or being shown true love, or some shit like that.

Kenara: Somebody pee on it. I bet that's the answer.

Tamira: “Hadn’t noticed,” Tamira says, winking. “Think nothing of it, my dear. All in a day’s work.”

Elesha: "Melon!" Elesha shouts.

Elesha: There's a watermelon vendor!

Rand Brittain: The box cracks open… no. That does not happen.

Luka: "Ugh. Can we not try and brute force the magic lock? They key could be literally aaaaany-thing."

Rand Brittain: This is probably a job for….

Kenara: "Is there even anything inside?" Kenara picks it up and gives it a shake.

Rand Brittain: <unclevoice> reeeeesearch.

Luka: I assume that a well connected gadfly like myself would have some notions as to where to go for such research in the area?

Elesha: If not, it's likely Elesha's sold to a nearby savant.

Luka: Especially since Luka literally has a specialty for libraries.

Rand Brittain: That seems very likely.

Rand Brittain: On boxes, of course, you know everything that is worth knowing.

Rand Brittain: But the best way to figure out how to open this thing is to figure out who owned it, and how it got left in a hole underneath the Cynis warehouse somewhere else.

Rand Brittain: I guess you could either try to examine the hole, or find out about this "Master Uen" that Sadida seemed to think might be the original owner.

Luka: I'mma investigate the hole. Case the joint for clues.

Rand Brittain: This is difficult because there is a building on top of the hole now.

Rand Brittain: Only some kind of ridiculous strongwoman who is also capable of fitting into small spaces could ever clear the way.

Luka: "Hey. Someone beefy clear out the rocks, yeah?"

Rand Brittain: Or, I suppose, someone who already owns the place and has hired labor, but I suppose this way is slightly cooler since Tamira doesn't seem to be a finger-snapper.

Tamira: Oh, I could, but then there’d be all manner of people gawking at my box.

Tamira: Our box. I said our box.

Luka: "…"

Tamira: (yes, yes, I realize what I just did there >_< )

Kenara: Kenara hears that rubble needs moving and starts moving rubble. Muttering can be heard.

Kenara: Kenara is also much too polite to gawk at Tamira's box.

Rand Brittain: In fairly short order, you're able to get into the skeleton of the building and locate the various secret rooms unearthed by the collapse.

Rand Brittain: Most of them are just full of more drugs! Standard Cynis caching.

Elesha: Elesha redistributes that wealth

Luka: Luka enjoys some polite thieving. You know, just a little bit here and there.

Rand Brittain: But at the bottom of the stairwell, you find what must be the hole the Great Animals took the box from.

Kenara: "How much qat can one person possibly smoke?"

Rand Brittain: It looks as though some falling masonry broke through two separate layers of stone.

Tamira: “I’d complain about your larceny, but they’re going to write it off on the insurance anyway,” Tamira says, shrugging.

Rand Brittain: It seems as though this cache was hidden under the foundations of a totally different building that the Cynis warehouse was built over the remains of.

Rand Brittain: The stones were mortared over and don't show any signs of a door. If anybody was planning to come back for this, they'd have had to pry them all out of the floor.

Rand Brittain: And that must have happened at least a century ago, and probably longer.

Rand Brittain: House Cynis has owned this particular piece of land for a while.

Luka: "Well, it is my learned opinion as Palanquin's foremost couturier and sixthmost architect that folks do not go to this kind of trouble for nothing."

Rand Brittain: The yellow box glitters ominously/alluringly.

Kenara: I'm providing light with my caste mark, btw.

Tamira: “Mmm… this is my family we’re talking about. It’s sort of our thing, you know?”

Tamira: “….well, that answers that question,” Tamira mutters.

Rand Brittain: Elsewhere, one bulb of four flickers on.

Luka: Can I use Investigation to case the place?

Rand Brittain: Sure.

Luka: Seven successes. Take that, Moriarty.

Rand Brittain: You determine, based on the quality of the revealed stonework, that whatever building was here before the warehouse was a hell of a lot fancier.

Kenara: 破門

Kenara: (Anathema)

Rand Brittain: Eventually, by the power of nipping down to the local records office, you will determine that this was once the location of the Palanquin opera house, which was destroyed when Ysyr conquered the city.

Rand Brittain: Further information is not available until I invent more details.

Rand Brittain: I think this pretty much brings us to a close for tonight.

Kenara: Thanks for running!

Luka: Luka seethes at the very notion of Ysyr.

Tamira: Ooooh, opera!

Rand Brittain: You have successfully defeated both monkeys and bears, and made an enemy of harmonious doctrine, and become owners of a mysterious and not-at-all euphemistic box.

Rand Brittain: We'll just have to see if I can work a performance of Hayseed Ho into this campaign.

Kenara: Kenara is crashing on someone's couch.

Luka: So…

Luka: This opera.

Luka: Do we now have…

Luka: …box seats?

  • Kenara throws Luka down the well.

Tamira: One of those lightbulbs is on. One is definitely flickering.

Rand Brittain: There's a convenient hole right here, Ken.

Luka: woooooooooooooooooorth iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit

Tamira: The other two, ha ha, nope.

Luka: splash

Rand Brittain: Let's just put these bricks back in place, and rebuild the warehouse.

Kenara: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MONTRESOR!

Kenara: I mean, sure.

Luka: I want the Opera house to be our new HQ.

Tamira: That is an excellent idea.

Rand Brittain: You'll have to rebuild it first!

Rand Brittain: Then you can be opera ghosts!

Luka: For Lightning Saint Elesha and the Boxers.

Rand Brittain: Or I guess there could be another one somewhere.

Rand Brittain: I was hoping this combat would be sufficiently challenging to interest you, but I failed to appreciate the ridiculous power of the Dawn Caste.

Rand Brittain: I mean, of their horses.

Tamira: The horse is definitely an Anathema.

Rand Brittain: Oh my god, it's a shapeshifter!

Luka: The horse is also a master of Hidden Horse.

Tamira: Recursive Horse Style.

Luka: It's a Double Mobius Horse.

Kenara: Horses All The Way Down Method.

Rand Brittain: Maybe it just becomes Hidden Human if a horse learns the style.

Rand Brittain: It becomes impossible to tell if anybody is riding the horse or not.

Rand Brittain: If two stylist ride/are ridden by each other and use the Form simultaneously…

Luka: They cease to exist.

Luka: It is an esoteric but well-documented path to enlightenment.

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